MERCED, Calif. - A second suspect has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a California family.
Alberto Salgado was arrested Thursday night in Merced County for criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence. The sheriff's office says Alberto is the brother of Jesus Manuel Salgado, who is suspected of kidnapping and murdering eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her parents, 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur and 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, and the baby's 39-year-old uncle Amandeep Singh.
Alberto Salgado (left), Jesus Manuel Salgado (right)
On Wednesday night Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke announced that all four family members were found dead. Warnke did not release any information about how and when they believe the family was killed. He said the victims were close to each other when found by a farmworker in a remote area.
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Merced County officials found the bodies of 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her parents – Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh – and uncle Amandeep Singh on Oct. 5, 2022. The family was kidnapped at gunpoint and have was missing since Monday. (Merced County Sher
The four family members were taken from their business in Merced, a city of 86,000 people about 125 miles southeast of San Francisco in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s agricultural heartland. Their new business had opened just days earlier, family members said.
Investigators are trying to discover a motive for the slayings. Officials say Jesus Salgado was a former driver for the family's trucking company and they were apparently in a feud prior to this tragic incident.
Surveillance video released earlier Wednesday showed the suspect first walking by the property before talking to one of the men. Later, it shows him leading the men, who had their hands zip-tied behind their backs, into the back seat of Amandeep Singh’s pickup truck. The suspect then went back to the trailer that served as the business office and led Jasdeep Singh, who was carrying her baby in her arms, out and into the truck before the suspect then drove away.
Family members said nothing was stolen from the trucking company but that their relatives were all wearing jewelry. Warnke had said that after the kidnappings, an ATM card belonging to one of the victims was used in Atwater, about 9 miles north of Merced.
The sheriff said detectives believe the suspected kidnapper destroyed unspecified evidence in an attempt to cover his tracks.
Authorities said the suspects made no ransom demands.